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1 John 4:7-4:21
$3.00 WORTH OF GOD, PLEASE
Tim Hansel in his book "When I Relax I feel Guilty," writes some insights of what most people want from God.
"I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please."
If we would be totally honest, the idea of transformation really scares us. That is because we know that such a radical change would be quite uncomfortable. We realize that with transformation comes a major overhaul of our lives and priorities.
(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, The Mission if You Accept it: Transformation, 2/15/2011)
YOU'LL FIND JESUS THERE
"Tomorrow morning I'll open up your heart" the surgeon said to the 8 year-old-boy.
"You'll find Jesus there," the boy said.
The surgeon continued, "I'll open your heart and check the damage."
"You'll find Jesus there," the boy said.
"When I see the damage, I will suture you back up and then think about the next step," said the surgeon.
"You will find Jesus in my heart because my Sunday school teacher told me so. She said it says so in the Bible. Besides that, our Sunday school songs say He lives there," said the boy.
The surgery took place the next day. After the surgery the surgeon began to make notes of what he found. In his mind there was no hope and no cure. The little boy would die within a matter of months.
The thought began to get to the doctor and all of a sudden the doctor shouted to God, "Why did you do this to the boy? Why can't he live a normal life?"
God spoke to the surgeon's heart and said, "The boy is a part of my flock and will always be a part of my flock. When he is with me there will be no more suffering and pain. He will have comfort and peace. One day his parents as well as you will join him and my flock will continue to grow."
The next day the surgeon went to the boy's room and sat down with the parents beside the bed.
In a moment or two, the boy opened his eyes and asked very quietly, "What did you find in my heart?"
With tears flowing down his cheeks, the surgeon said, "I found Jesus there."
ILL. Let me read a part of the list that several housewives compiled. They wrote that they were especially thankful:
"For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.
"For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.
"For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents
"For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
"For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.
APPL. Now our list might not be the same as theirs, but I’m convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions.
Henri Nouwen was also a person whose heart was to serve the Lord. And as a world-renown Catholic educator and teacher he had a great deal of success in encouraging others in their faith. Yet one day, God asked him to leave that and become a house parent in the Le Arche community, an organization that gives homes to mentally and physically handicapped children. So he did. He left the world of the high flying speaker and entered a home where none of the people he was ‘father’ to knew of his fame and success. Believing that he would be serving them, Nouwen soon found that the shoe was on the other foot. When Nouwen came into a room he saw the faces of the children light up. Each day he was greeted with smiles and hugs, openly involved in the sorrows and success of the children, and generally made to feel like a valuable part of the community. Before long, Nowen found himself in the deepest pit of depression that he had ever experienced. In the face of the profound love and acceptance that these handicapped children had given him, Nouwen’s reliance on his ability to dazzle with knowledge crumbled and the loss was devastating. Yet it was in this breaking point that Nouwen experienced...
Harry Houdini, the famed escape artist issued a challenge wherever he went. He could be locked in any jail cell in the country, he claimed, and set himself free quickly and easily. Always he kep his promise, but one time something went wrong. Houdini entered the jail in his street clothes; the heavy, metal doors clanged shut behind him. He took from his belt a concealed piece of metal, strong and flexible. He set to work immediately, but something seemed to be unusual about this lock. For 30 minutes he worked and got nowhere. An hour passed, and still he had not opened the door. By now he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick the lock. Finally, after laboring for 2 hours, Harry Houdini collapsed in frustration and failure against the door he could not unlock. But when he fell against the door, it swung open! It had never been locked at all! But in his mind it was locked and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out of the jail cell.
AUGUSTINE AND THE FOUR STATES OF MAN
In the 5th century AD, St. Augustine wrote about the "4 States of Man":
* The first state of man (the haec sunt prima) is "living according to the flesh -- with reason making no resistance." This can be seen in so many ancient cultures and religions (and unfortunately more than a few in our own time) with their human sacrifices, their idols, their pagan ceremonies, and even cannibalism. Human life -- without power -- was lightly regarded. Animals, especially domesticated animals, were often valued more highly than human life. Reason often vanishes when weighed against lust and self-gratification. Even today, this seems to be coming full circle.
* The second state of man is "recognition of sin through the Law . . . but sinning knowingly." It was so important for Satan to remove the Ten Commandments from our classrooms and courtrooms. It was critical for him to "separate church and state." So long as people knew the Law, it would not be so easy to ignore the Law. Without the reminders of the Law, we easily return to the first state of man. Does any of this sound familiar?
* The third state of man is "faith in the help of God -- but he perseveres in seeking to please God." Man has begun to be moved by the Spirit of God. We are already standing with one foot in the hell which we have created, but in the "third state", man knows it. So he still struggles against his own sinful nature because he has not yet been fully healed.
* The fourth state of man is "the full and perfect peace in God." This we find in harmony with Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the person of Jesus Christ, we see how far we have departed from God.
Augustine adds, "The will of man is always free, even and particularly when it can no longer will to do evil." But Adam and Eve were not gods, "and their 'free will' would not have sufficed, even in paradise, to merit immortality. Divine assistance was needed. Their immortality could only continue by their continued relationship with the Divine. So how much more do we need God's help since our fall?"
Augustine continues, "Even the good merits and qualities which people may display toward one another are gifts from God. Every good quality comes from His grace. God's mercy is the ground of salvation. Therefore, let no man boast. Out of faith spring hope and love. We hope only in God -- not in men and not in ourselves." ("The History of Doctrines", Reinhold Seeberg, p. 366)
Dorothy Sayers wrote, "If men will not understand the meaning of judgment, they will never come to understand the meaning of grace."
"You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
I never liked that song as a kid. You can’t fool Santa. He knows it all. Well, great! Then he knows I lied about scratching the car with my bike. He knows I hit my sister. He knows I was cussing up a storm with my friends down the street. He knows it all. That’s just great! What chance do I have for a decent Christmas present now? I might as well just keep on being bad.
You know. That’s how people often look at their lives as Christians. Jesus is coming back. You better watch out - you better be good, cause He knows it all. You better be ready, prepared, faithful, loving, because there’s no fooling Him. And when you look at it this way, any honest person would say, "That’s just great!" Then I have no chance, cause I know I’ve been bad." But that misses the point of the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that we cannot be good enough to earn God’s favor. Instead, He gives us the gift of eternal life when we believe in Jesus, and He recreates us in Christ so that we can do good things.
“Walter Cronkite or God?” Joshua 1:1-9 Key verse(s): 5:“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Why is the world such a fearful place? It seems these days people are afraid of more things than they ever were before. We’re afraid of big things and little things alike. We are filled with fear when we think of that terrorist with a bomb strapped around his middle. While our expanding waste lines keeps us almost as fearful of that bulge around our own middle. We fear that our homes might be broken into; so we invest in expensive alarm systems. We fear that our identity might be stolen so our plastic has become more important to us than gold or silver. It’s ironic that in a land that once presented people with so many fearful prospects in the form of skulking mountain lions, ferocious grizzlies and wolves, not to mention a wide assortment of killing diseases, famine and scalp-hunting indians, we seem more fearful today than were our forefathers who faced so many physical challenges just trying to survive from day to day.
What is it about the very real dangers of the past that gave our forefathers pause but didn’t interrupt their sleep? How were they able to survive with such pluck, maintain their self-sufficiency and guard their personal liberty in the face of nearly overwhelming everyday danger? Today Americans rush into the arms of their government at the slightest hint of a danger or a threat. Willing even to give up our most precious liberties in order to secure the hand of a government over us, we stand weak-kneed and wobbly every time the news is rife with the possibility of something terrible happening even in a land thousands of miles away. Perhaps there is a clue in a poll conducted by The Ladies Home Journal nearly a quarter of a century ago. The magazine asked this simply question: “In whom do you trust?” Of the thousands who responded, two individuals were selected as most trustworthy. 40% listed Walter Cronkite, the CBS news anchor, and 26% listed the Pope. God came in dead last at 3%. Even the plumber and used car salesmen scored higher than the Almighty Creator of the universe. If you can’t trust God to take care of you, it is little wonder that we are so filled with fear. Doubtless Walter Cronkite could do little to convince a terrorist ready to blow himself to pieces that it might not be a good idea; even on his best journalistic day.
Evangelist James Brown writes. “Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.
Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him. He very calmly said to me, ‘There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it a...
Adoniram Judson was a great missionary. He once said about serving God, and success:
"There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after."
As we begin this new series on the Bible I thought I’d share some Biblical Bloopers with you. These are s-lightly skewed scriptural insights from children of Christian and Jewish faiths:
- In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating the world, so he took
the Sabbath off.
- Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.
- Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark.
- Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.
- Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is
bread made without any ingredients.
- The Egyptians were all drowned in the desert.
- Afterward. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments.
- The First Commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
- The Fifth Commandment is "Humor thy father and mother."
- The Seventh Commandment is "Thou shalt not admit adultery."
- The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed
- Solomon, one of David’s sons, has 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
- When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
- When the three wise guys from the east side showed up, they found Jesus and the
- Jesus was born because Mary had an emaculate contraption. St. John, the Blacksmith,
dumped water on his head.
- Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which is "Do one to others before they do one to
- The Bible says a man is only supposed to have one wife. This is called monotony.
©1998 John Boy & Billy Inc.